Benteke, Firmino and Lovren (to the relief of most) were ruled out with injury while Sturridge returned after being rested against Carlisle to pair alongside Ings who was fresh off scoring in the mid-week fixture.
For what nearly seemed high-pressure game for Rodgers given the speculation around his continued tenure at Anfield, the Reds got off to a terrific start as captain James Milner opened the scoring inside 2 minutes with a low drive into the bottom corner after Coutinho found him at the edge of the box.
Liverpool had control of the game and the ball for most period of time, pushing Villa back into defending with nearly all players back during the first half. We had couple of chances to increase the lead but didn’t manage to capitalize on that.
Into the second half, Sturridge scored his first goal of the season after such a long injury spell and what a goal that was he strikes a volley from outside of his left foot, across the keeper into the goal. It was a beauty after managing superbly well to control the ball before finishing it.
Villa pulled one back with Gestede but Sturridge double his tally and restored the 2-goal by slotting the ball past the keeper after some brilliant interplay between Coutinho who set the goal up by a sweet backheel.
Gestede again got a goal back for the visitors with a towering header, and the keeper couldn’t have done anything about that. They managed to twice walk over our defence which made it slightly nervy end to the goal but we played with lots of determination and attacking intent. While defence would still need a lot of work, it is a great boost to have Sturridge fit and kicking. It was 3 points at the end as the game finished Liverpool 3-2 Aston Villa and Brendan Rodgers lives to fight another day.